I have this theory. The salient part of the theory is that life is an ice cream sundae.
That’s also the most important part of the theory. Regardless of which toppings are present, or what flavor is in the bowl, your life is a pile of ice cream with extra goodies.
The other key part of the theory is that men (in my case) are the whipped cream in this sundae. I quite like whipped cream. But to make my ice cream sundae better than it would be otherwise it had better be some top notch, hand whipped, heavy duty cream with a touch of cinnamon and Madagascan vanilla bean. Because I’m going to eat that amazing sundae every single day, with or without whipped cream. If you’re not adding something to the bowl I’ve got cherries and sprinkles and caramel and maybe the odd gummy bear or, like, a cookie.
In the UK whipped cream in a can is called ‘squirty cream’ which is fantastic and we will refer to it as such from this point forward. Squirty cream has its place. Can be lots of fun and gets the job done in a pinch. Mostly doesn’t make your sundae worse unless you leave it too long and it kind of melts into a film… which is the argument for squirty cream men. They have their place. But mandatory sundae topping they are not. Priority additions must contribute to a dessert more than the sum of it’s ingredients.
You don’t leave a perfectly lovely sundae to turn into soup for lack of whipped cream. You grab a spoon and lick the bowl. And when that really great, perfect swirl of cream-of-the-crop whipped topping comes along, your sundae is that much sweeter.
I’m not turning down a bowl of strawberry ice cream with no toppings at all either. Eat up.
It is human nature to try and find patterns. In what we do, what other people do, in your peas at the dinner table.
When I got my fifth ‘Thanks, but no thanks’ text from someone I had been seeing (which was also the third ‘I’m getting back together with my ex-girlfriend, see ya’ text) in the last couple years I couldn’t help but think it might be me. This, despite every assurance that it was not me. Unfortunately, none of these gentlemen advanced past the cliché. My taste is possibly the problem.
As a results oriented person dwelling on the problem was not going to be enough. The potential solutions appeared to be market myself as a professional reunite-er:
“Take me out and your Ex will take you back in two months or less – guaranteed!”
Or, I could try my best to interrupt the pattern. Doing the same thing and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity, so this seems the healthier, if less lucrative, option.
I’m not totally sure what that looks like yet, but I feel as though not being quite so nice about being set aside like last week’s box set is a good place to start.
And so, to keep to this new resolution I decided to forgo my usual ‘It’s alright, no hard feelings’ response. It might be true, and, clearly, none of them were my soul mate, but that doesn’t mean I have to make it easy.
When I finally texted back this last time I said the only thing that could be said,
There are so many things that girls do when they are getting ready to go out. And a few extra things when getting ready to go out on a first date. Even with hours of preparation, part of you is always ready for something to go, if not wrong, then not quite right. That’s why you bring three different lip products, a pen, and a bottle opener (just me?). But there are some things you do not worry about. Things you take for granted. Things like your ability to open doors.
It’s the sort of thing that I would normally chalk up to being the kind of incident that would and could only happen to me, except that is not the case. My first thought when I realised I could not open a door was that a friend of mine had been in the exact same situation months before and I hadn’t really understood what she meant. But I did now. So, of course I texted her to let her know that she was not alone. But I was. Trapped on the wrong side of a door I could not open.
How did I get from first dates to locked doors? And were the authorities involved? No, legal action was not taken against my date, but a friend did later suggest that I was technically a hostage. I feel it is important to share this story for the sake of preventing its repetition and simply making you feel less alone if this was once you and you thought you were the only one. Since the evening did include interaction with another person, who possibly does not want moments of their lives explicitly detailed on the internet, I hope you will forgive the necessarily vague descriptions.
Boy asked out girl. Girl met boy at restaurant. Boy and girl ate food. Boy and girl had drinks. Then they had some more drinks. Girl came in for one more drink. She was then more surprised than she should have been that drink was not only thing on boy’s mind. She very sensibly made her way to the door… and could not, for the life of her, open it. The knob turned but the door did not open. The lock flipped, but the door did not open. Boy could not conceptualize that girl couldn’t open a door (nice of him really) and continued wooing efforts. Girl used wiles to get boy to open door for her and ran away home.
Don’t be that girl. There’s no living it down. I still have no idea how he opened the door.
Just because you get to know a person does not make them any less a person. And just because you like a person does not mean you use them for the things you like and leave the rest.
Too many people are treating the romantic interests in their life like their own personal stash of flavoured jams lined up on a shelf. Strawberry for Mondays. Grape on the weekends. Raspberry for special occasions. But putting people back on the shelf when you’ve had enough, and have a taste for something a bit different, and then picking them up when you remember how nice they were, is a pretty shit thing to do. Because while jam comes with a handy lid that maintains the status quo while your off on a multi flavoured jam frenzy, people do not.
I get it. They are all sweet, and colourful, and shiny in their own special way. And every time you open a new one they make that really satisfying, sucking, pop sound. But if you take a few bites off the top and set it back down again you are left with someone who feels a bit hollow and can’t help but wonder why you picked up the spoon in the first place.
So, you don’t like seeds. Or pulp. Fine, no problem. Pass it along to someone else. Don’t leave the jam on the shelf, missing all the good bits, until it’s lost all the appeal it ever had. It isn’t fair to the jam, or your new jam, or other jam lovers. Sure, life isn’t fair, but that is no excuse to go around buying up every flavour of jam you can find only to let it sit in the pantry until you are in the mood for it. I know you take a bite here and there to keep it shiny on top, and honestly that’s worse. Pass it along to someone who really really likes apricot. There are starving children in the world.
People are not meant to sit on shelves waiting for willing spoons. Don’t be that spoon. And don’t be that jam. You are not raspberry jam.
Interviews and dating are exactly the same. You get a call, and someone would like to see you at a predetermined time, preferably looking slightly better than you usually do, to ask you a bunch of personal questions before deciding whether or not they want to commit to spending any more time with you. And you show up and smile and try not to sweat too much while being witty and charming and memorable, concentrating on not accidentally flinging a pen and/or fork at your interrogator. Then you go home, change your shirt, and eat a cake. While you wait for a call that maybe, hopefully they want a second date. Or, dare to dream, they ask you to go steady! And then you have five days a week of repetitive phone calls to look forward to. But then it could all go the other way. No call at all and you just sit there, with your hands clenched, planning alternate futures that all hinge on this one virtual stranger calling you, until you finally consider the one that’s already happening and regret having suppressed that fork flinging impulse. Or, in the rare, mature case you get an email full of lies about how much they like you that ends with “I didn’t pick you”.
If you’re really lucky it’s a blind date and someone who claims to care about you goes out of their way to do you a “favor” by setting you up with their friend, or more likely, some random person they met, and you are now obligated to follow through with this extra strange stranger on pain of ruining your friendship. Now there’s the stress of alienating someone you already decided you like as well as this new goober that you didn’t even get the opportunity to vet for mildly acceptable taste and manners. In all likelihood he does not possess either of those things and now you not only have to extricate yourself from having to talk to this person more than once, but have to deal with the issue of why your friend hates you so much that they wanted to torture you psychologically with the penultimate socially awkward scenario. Now you’re mad, and you feel trapped, and you’re wearing heels for no reason.
Absolutely no part of these scenarios are different when dealing with a potential employer, except (with few exemptions- I hope) the sexpectations. When finally leaving the office I’ve personally never had an interviewer try to stick their tongue down my throat just in case I was into it. Hopefully you want something different from a date than an interviewer, but I’m not one to judge. I don’t have any suggestions for improvement when it comes to dating or interviews, especially since I’m really not very good at either of them, but I’d be lying if I hadn’t considered the advantages of selling crocheted blankets out of my parents back room and exclusively making out with drunk guys.
And people wonder how I could possibly be single and unemployed.